A recent development relates to PCB dredging at the Housatonic River, near Pittsfield, Massachusetts (http://www.berkshireeagle.com/ci_11982889). According to the 20-March Berkshire Eagle: "The state will grant the Housatonic River a special designation that could give Massachusetts a stronger voice in a coming PCB cleanup... Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles [indicated] that he plans to declare the Housatonic River an "area of critical environmental concern" — or ACEC... And he said his office will reject the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's request be to exempted from the stricter conditions that the ACEC brings."
For information about potential risks to public health posed by PCB dredging, see www.ramtrac.com/PUBLICATIONS.html. Click on publication number 34. This fully peer-reviewed article documents a consistent pattern of dredging-friendly health risk underestimation that clearly constitutes bias in the US EPA health risk assessment of PCBs in the Hudson River. It documents, further, that airborne PCB risks to public health could be significant, but were virtually overlooked by the EPA.
One theme of this blog is that scientific illiteracy in public officials exacts a major cost to our society. Notwithstanding the essentially scientific mission of the US EPA, the imposition of politics on science by Agency officials exemplifies this concern. Science and politics both are valid pursuits, but the former should be neither corrupted nor pressured by the latter.
Copyright © 2009 by The Center for Health Risk Assessment and Management, a Division of RAM TRAC Corporation